Love, Life & all that Jazz, a book written by Ahmed Faiyaz, as the title suggests is a book that through its plot and characters touches the delicate issues of modern times like Love, Career, Relationship, Family, Dreams, Money, the associated complications and all that jazz which orchestrate the choices and the decisions we take in our life. Although, the book covers so many different issues, the flowing narrative ensures that you wouldn’t feel that an issue has been abruptly introduced into the storyline. The storyline revolves around a group of college friends – how their life changes after graduation, how their career paths makes it tough for them to find time to hang out more often, how the relationships in their life turn out to complicate their life even more, how they try to balance work and life and how their life goes on despite all that jazz.
The lead characters of this novel are Tanveer, Sameer, Vikram and Tania. One could easily relate to one of these characters or in part with a few of them. In the first scene, all of them meet up over a cup of chai. As their discussion unfolds and with the help of narration, we get an insight into how these characters differ in their background and how different their priorities in Life is.
Tanveer hailed from a small town Sholapur and his middle-class family had very orthodox values. His family expected their son to share their economic burden. Tanveer worked hard to meet their expectations. In contrast to Tanveer, others belonged to affluent families. Others had different priorities like establishing their career as soon as possible. Unlike Tanveer, Vikram belonged to a modern family in which his parents shared the house but not their lives. He had a carefree attitude in life so far in college. However, he was now thinking seriously about what he wanted to do in his life. The only thing he was sure about was that he didn’t want to join his dad’s business. Sameer and Tania had been in a serious relationship since college days. However, with Sameer planning to leave to study abroad for MBA, they were worried about how they would be able to maintain their long-distance relationship while establishing their careers.
The book has been divided into 31 chapters grouped together into six parts namely Change, Together, Falling Apart, Another Life, Love and Longing and Living your Dreams. Over these six parts, the author narrates how the unexpected events unfold in the life of these central characters which shatter them emotionally, then how they pick themselves up and try to get along with life and how finally at the end, the roller-coaster ride in life seems to be heading towards a happy ending for everyone.
The author has also touched some of the existing stark realities in our society like opposition to inter-religion marriages, the casting couch issue in film industry, racism faced by Asians in foreign countries and overloading the employee at work. The events and characters described in the novel are very real-life and relatable, and hence, it strikes a chord with the reader instantly. The language used throughout the book is simple and very casual, and goes along well with the pacey narrative.
I find the book to be a good, breezy read that gives you an insight into the common issues of modern times. Although, one may argue that despite all the issues depicted in the lives of central characters, finally the book ends with a stereotypical ‘happy ending’. However, I feel it would be wrong to put away this book as just another Indian author’s book where in the end ‘All is Well’, as sometimes the optimism is a realistic need in our lives.